Updated By: Winnie Wright
February 6, 2014, 11pm
"It isn't about the money."
Those are words from Kendrick Johnson Family Attorney, Ben Crump, on a lawsuit against a funeral home.
The family claims Harrington Funeral Home mishandled Kendrick's remains.
Kenneth and Jackie Johnson filed a lawsuit Monday against Harrington Funeral Home in Valdosta.
The lawsuit says owner Antonio Harrington "intentionally, willfully, and secretly desecrated" the remains of Johnson.
"This is but a part of the journey to justice for Kendrick Johnson, and if we can't make the state even investigate fairly what happened to his organs, how can we have trust in the bigger picture of who killed Kendrick Johnson?" said Crump.
When a second autopsy was performed last summer, the teen's organs were missing, and his body was stuffed with newspaper.
A State Board recently ruled that replacing internal organs with newspaper, while not a "best practice, is not illegal.
"It's not about stuffing newspaper in his body, even though that's outrageous. What it's really about is who discarded his vital organs," said Crump.
The lawsuit alleges that Kendrick's organs went missing while they were in the care of Harrington's. The Johnson family says they hoped the organs could be used as evidence.
Crump says each step they make in the investigation gets the Johnson family closer to the truth about what happened to their son.
The case will be heard in a Lowndes County Court.
Attorneys for Harrington Funeral Home did not respond to our requests for comment.
News Release: Associated Press News
By RUSS BYNUM
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) -- The parents of a south Georgia teenager found dead last year inside a rolled-up gym mat at school are suing the funeral home that handled his body.
Attorneys for the parents of 17-year-old Kendrick Johnson of Valdosta accuse Harrington Funeral Home of fraud, negligence and intentional mishandling of a corpse in the civil suit filed in State Court late last week. The family is seeking unspecified damages.
Johnson was found dead Jan. 11 at his high school. Authorities ruled the death a freak accident, but Johnson's parents believe he was slain.
They had the body exhumed for a second autopsy last summer and discovered his internal organs were missing and the body was stuffed with newspaper.
The funeral home's attorney, Roy Copeland, did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday.